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La Costa is an Island of Luxury and Spectacular Views

December 22, 2005|By Cary Ordway

Driving south on Interstate 5 toward San Diego, there is little evidence that just a couple of miles east of the freeway is a legendary sports resort that actually was the first destination spa in the United States.

Back when La Costa Resort opened in 1965, the area around Carlsbad probably felt a little more remote than it does today. Some 30 miles north of San Diego, the area's building boom has created non-stop residential neighborhoods from Oceanside just north of Carlsbad clear down to the Mexican border. Fortunately, the resort set aside 400 acres back then to build a complex that would become well-known in the tennis and golf worlds as one of the best places to play either of those sports.

Today La Costa continues to host world-class golf and tennis events and attract a regular clientele of affluent travelers from around the country. While a stay at the resort can be pricey, there is no denying that the abundant creature comforts here are worth the splurge -- especially now that a $140 million renovation has brought aging rooms and facilities right in line with the best in the industry.

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Virtually everything at La Costa has been touched by this renovation, explained Denise Chapman, the resort's director of marketing.

Three years ago, KSL Resorts bought La Costa because of the brand name that has been built over 40 years of televised golf tournaments and 20 years of tennis. The greatest names in those sports have played at La Costa and those events have been beamed to millions of TV viewers each year. "We've been in people's living rooms," is the way Chapman puts it.

But truth be told, the resort was showing its age. So KSL decided to renovate all of the resort's 500-plus rooms and suites, a well as invest in a new $12 million spa, a new clubhouse, a new ballroom and a new pedestrian plaza that helps create a campus atmosphere a kind of Disneyland for those who love luxury resorts.

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